Zen & The Secret of Life

There is hardly a more inspirational figure in getting to the heart of things when it comes to meditation, spirituality, and Zen... than Alan Watts. The follow is an excerpt from one of his recordings.

Zen feels that all that human beings are seeking, all that they really fundamentally desire — whether it be complete contentment of the heart or understanding of why this universe exists and what our place in it is — all this understanding is not something obscure and far off, but something completely obvious and lying open to anybody who cares to look at it in this immediate moment which we are living now.

It is as if to say: the whole secret of life, everything that you could possibly desire, is yours at this moment, and if you cannot lay hold of it now, you'll never be able to.

The difficulty is that it's very hard to convince people of this by talking about it — because all talk, all systems of ideas, are in relation to reality itself somewhat like a menu in relation to a dinner. And those who try to get comfort, to get wisdom, out of books or by believing in various systems of ideas and philosophies, such people are really devouring the menu instead of eating the dinner.

Now, how then is one to divert people's attention from the menu to the dinner itself? There is only one way and that is to point directly at the dinner. To stop talking about it, to stop writing about it, and to point at to directly.

This is what Zen does.

—Alan Watts, The Gateless Gate